“In The Mesquite” New Clue Revealed: “A Reader” Discovers the Killer’s Taunting “Purloined Letter Clue” Lying in Plain Site

December 16, 2023
Birch Bay, Washington
Have decided by way of a “thank you” to all my loyal readers (consider it an early Xmas present, which I will unwrap for you today) have decided to publish the “new clue” here on the website.  For those who have already purchased the print or e-book, here it is.
In the comments section of the original 2019 blog announcing the publication of In The Mesquite “A Reader” wrote:
“I just read the book and have been reading through comments on the  blog but I haven’t seen this anywhere: am I the only one who sees the letters “G” and “H” in the positioning of the victims’ arms?”
My answer to “A Reader”- Yes, you were the only one to see this and it is a huge “clew” and thoughtprint. Thank You, Thank you for this additional linkage to G.H.-George Hodel. As in his later killings, the egomaniacal G.H. just could not resist leaving a clue, a thoughtprint to his name at the crime scene.

No police photos exist publicly, showing this positioning, but thanks to the carefully reproduced 1938 crime sketch we see it captured in the illustration.
Here is my editor/author/partner, retired Dallas PD officer Robert Sadler’s graphic to help us aid in seeing how George Hodel positioned the bodies to write out his actual initials, G.H.
Graphic by author Robert J. Sadler
Here is a link to the original 2019 announcement of the IN THE MESQUITE publication which includes “A Reader” comment/discovery. (I have asked the anonymous reader for permission to include his/her name so I may credit the writer for the discovery. No response to date.)

IN THE MESQUITE: The Solving of the 1938 West Texas Kidnap Torture Murders of Hazel and Nancy Frome Now Available in Print and Ebook- Cops and Writers Weigh In On 6th Book in Series


  1. Brian Weatherby on December 16, 2022 at 3:58 pm

    Great observation!

    If it was any other suspect, it’d seem somewhat random, even though they are posed. But this is SO George Hodel, after all we’ve learned about the man. Diabolical.

    • Steve Hodel on December 16, 2022 at 4:04 pm

      Brian W:
      Exactly SO. His Ego is his ultimate downfall as we have seen time and time again.

      • Patricia ONeill on December 16, 2022 at 5:24 pm

        Wow! If that isn’t GHH! Can just imagine the gleeful enjoyment he had in positioning this innocent mother & daughter. This is a bold statement to all involved in criminal behaviors from LE to MD’s. The mental health of our children has always been, still is, at the whim of parents/family who pursue “the good life” which (IMO) is so much a FACADE. America wake up! J

      • Yolanda Camacho on December 17, 2022 at 10:34 am

        Steve, the winter solstice is coming! Our HEALING CIRCLE sends you a powerful centering, cleansing breath and robust positive VIBRATIONS for ancestral HEALING. Ancestral healing connects us to our forefathers and foremothers, tying together the lines of generations before. We are links to the past and the FUTURE!

        Peace always!
        Yolie 💎

        • Yolanda Camacho on December 24, 2022 at 10:57 am

          On this Christmas Eve🎄 our HEALING CIRCLE sends a centering, cleansing breath and powerful VIBRATIONS for ancestral healing. Ancestral healing connects us to our forefathers and foremothers in a long chain, united in healing the wounds of the past.

          Peace always!

          Yolie 💎

          • Yolanda Camacho on December 31, 2022 at 10:32 am

            On this New Year’s EVE our HEALING CIRCLE sends a deep, cleansing, centering breath and powerful VIBRATIONS for ancestral healing. Ancestral Healing connects us to our forefathers and foremothers in a chain that links us to the past and the future. Connecting to our ancestors offers healing for them and for us!

            Peace now and always
            Yolie 💎

  2. Dennis Effle on December 16, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    Layer, upon layer, upon layer. George’s ego wouldn’t or couldn’t let him leave any crime scene without signing his “work.” Thanks again to observant readers for their contribution to your continuing work, Steve. It continues to amaze!

  3. Joakim on December 16, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    If the deed was meant to be seen as “arty” perhaps the bitten arm was intended as a reminder of the painting Saturn Devouring his Son by Goya?

  4. Eliza White Sawyer on December 16, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    After everything we’ve learned about GHH, this is entirely believable.

  5. Kelvin Hodel on December 16, 2022 at 11:58 pm

    Wow, that’s amazing!

    • Steve Hodel on December 17, 2022 at 12:04 pm

      Kelvin H:
      Yep. Between our Dear Old Dad’s day job and nighttime killings no wonder, he didn’t have time to “play catch” during our Franklin House years. Setting aside mom’s struggles with alcohol (totally understandable now) so glad she was able to keep us together most of the time during those years. Happy Holidays Bro.

  6. Joakim on December 20, 2022 at 11:47 am

    Is it simplistic to think that the arms in the sewer, in the Degnan case, were meant as two L-letters (symbolizing perfect crime for somebody who knew about the Leopold & Loeb case)?

    • Steve Hodel on December 25, 2022 at 1:49 pm

      Joakim: I think that might be a bit of a stretch. But, we do have him posing the body parts off “Hollywood Ave” to go along with his later street sign posings. Re. Leopold and Loeb we do have him doing a “copycat” murder just weeks after that sensational crime as presented in The Early Years books.

      • Joakim on December 25, 2022 at 5:38 pm

        I think the victim Bobby Franks was found in a drainage pipe. Not exactly a sewer, but…

  7. Ana on December 23, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    Just read In the Mesquite. One thing that struck me was that both Liz Short and the Fromes were seemingly in fear for their personal safety right before being killed. Very interesting. It would be so GHH to taunt his victims leading up to the crime.

    • Steve Hodel on December 24, 2022 at 11:36 am

      Yes, and more. They received a package wrapped in brown paper left at the desk for them. They opened it in their room and then became terrified and checked out immediately. We recall the killer of the little Suzanne Degnan girl in January 1946 sent a package to her parents which they opened and found it contained A HUMAN EAR. Makes us wonder what was in the Fromes package eight years earlier?

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